Mentoring is a method used for transferring knowledge from one person to another. The mentee is the party receiving knowledge. The mentor imparts knowledge.
It is fundamental to note that a mentor need not be someone who has years of experience in your field of interest. A mentor could be someone who is a few steps ahead of you in the process that you are learning.
At times, it could be advantageous to have a mentor who is close to your stage of knowledge. Below are 20 questions you should consider asking a mentor. The responses to these can guide your career and personal development.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Career Advice Questions To Ask A Mentor
How do you achieve work/life balance?
Understanding how your mentor balances career as well as life on a whole can provide useful life management strategies. Every career can be hectic with its ups/downs. Therefore take pointers from your mentor.
How do you stay motivated when you are drained?
We all go through peaks and valleys along our career path. Getting an appreciation of how your mentor deals with valley experiences could provide a blueprint that you can use to tackle difficult or similar situations.
What type of systems and processes do you use to manage your time?
Having an understanding of the tools and systems that your mentor use to manage time can be a game-changer.
There are only so many hours in one day and understanding how your mentor achieves maximum output within a time period can help you improve your efficiency.
What books have you read that have helped you along your career path?
Consistent reading can change one’s life as you get to glean great information from the perspective of the author. Knowledge of the books that your mentor has read could be beneficial. Add these to your list of must reads.
How do you deal with disappointments in your career?
Life is never all roses. We all face tough seasons and moments of disappointments. Learning from the techniques that your mentor uses in these seasons could be valuable so that you can apply these principles when you are in your own challenging seasons.
Career Growth Questions To Ask A Mentor
What are my greatest strengths?
A mentor through your interactions will be able to clearly identify what your greatest strengths are. Many at times we have abilities and potential in areas that we do not see in ourselves. A mentor can assist in bringing these to your attention.
What are my greatest weaknesses?
We all have fears and challenges that we have to overcome along our career journey. A mentor can assist in identifying them. Tips and strategies could be provided to assist you in overcoming these adversities.
What are the gaps in my current skillsets that I should develop?
The mentor can usually identify what areas that you need to develop. This is a great question to ask so you can quickly figure out which gaps you need to fill in order to grow and succeed.
What goals do you think I should pursue to get my career from point x to point y?
Goal setting should be a major part of your career plan as this will help chart your career growth. Getting the input from a mentor could be invaluable as you create your career plan.
What career goals do you think I should aim to achieve in the next 5 years?
Career planning should short and long term. In addition to having quarterly and annual goals, one should have a 5 year career plan.
This is fundamental as it forces you to visualize where you see yourself in the future so that you can put a plan together to get there.
Your mentor can help you in providing information on the path that you should take to achieve your long term goals.
Career Development Questions To Ask A Mentor
How do you recommend that I connect with like-minded individuals in my industry?
Transformation could occur in environments when you are in discussion and interaction with persons who have the same interest as you. Your mentor may be able to suggest groups, organisations or societies that you can join which can assist you in your career development.
Are there any fears/obstacles in my personality that you think I need to overcome?
Sometimes seeing your own shortcomings can be difficult. A mentor should act as a great sounding board to challenge you to tackle and face your fears head on.
What type of person do I need to become to achieve X in my career?
To achieve transformation, usually there are traits that you and I have to develop. A mentor will be able to steer you in the right direction and provide valuable feedback on the areas on areas of development for success.
What factors should I consider when creating my career vision?
Having a vision for your career is fundamental for focus and direction. Your mentor will be able to provide guidance on factors which you should consider when creating a career vision. Your career vision is a blueprint for the future.
What recommendations do you suggest that I consider as future career paths?
Usually a mentor is someone who is more experienced than you in a particular area/ field. Therefore, he/she may be someone who you can lean on for recommendations on your future career paths.
Career Questions To Ask A Mentor About Career Path
What lessons have you learnt from failures along your career path that I could benefit from?
We all fail at some point in our lives. It will be interesting to learn from the stories of your mentors of areas where he/she have failed. This can save you from making similar mistakes on your journey.
You may discover career paths that you have never considered. However, it is also critical to self-reflect before jumping into a recommended career path.
How has our mentor-mentee relationship benefitted you?
Mentor/ mentee relationships are often mutually beneficial. While you gain training and can leverage the experience of the mentor, you also add value in some way.
It is important that you understand how the relationship has impacted your mentor. This may assist you in understanding more of your strengths.
What challenges did you overcome along your journey?
We all have obstacles that we have to press into in order to achieve greatness and success along our career journey.
Listening to the experiences and stories of a mentor can be motivating and inspiring to work hard to overcome challenges that you are facing.
What career mistake taught you the greatest lesson?
Mistakes and crisis situations can lead to transformation. It will be valuable hearing stories of mistakes that your mentor has made in his/her career. These experiences can help you avoid repeating similar mistakes on your career journey.
Looking back, is there anything professionally that you would have done differently?
This is an interesting question as in life everything happens for a reason even the detours and disappointments. However, it will be useful to know if there was a role that he/she regretting not taking as an example.
Also, if there was a business opportunity that was not pursued. This can really be a golden nugget to remember. What were the lessons learned through this process.
There are several articles on this blog on mentorship which you may find valuable. Feel free to click on any of the links below to explore:-
33 Great Mentoring Quotes
How To Ask Someone To Mentor You
How To Find A Mentor For Your Career
7 Important Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Mentor
12 Top Career Mentoring Questions To Ask A Mentee
6 Valuable Benefits of Mentoring To Advance Your Career
10 Top Questions To Ask A Mentee
17 Top Qualities of A Great Mentee
Five Top Questions To Ask A Reverse Mentee
Leveraging the value of a mentor is critical along your career journey. Mentorship can be ongoing or it can be one off. If the relationship is over a period of time, these questions can be reviewed ever so often. We do evolve and grow.
Therefore, understanding whether your mentor believes that you are progressing is valuable. Hope these top career questions can guide some of your conversations with your mentor.
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